Life in St. Louis as a Jewish Young Adult: A Retrospective/Case Study<br /><ul><li>Background on STL: City/County divide, ...
College didn’t really connect me with the broader St. Louis entertainment or Jewish community.
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Case Study: St. Louis


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Yoni Sarason

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Case Study: St. Louis

  1. 1. Life in St. Louis as a Jewish Young Adult: A Retrospective/Case Study<br /><ul><li>Background on STL: City/County divide, lack of concentrated urban core, city of neighborhoods. Most Jews from STL live in county, most transplants are Wash U Grad students living much closer to the city. Conservative, risk-averse culture.
  2. 2. College didn’t really connect me with the broader St. Louis entertainment or Jewish community.
  3. 3. Vast majority of friends left after graduation
  4. 4. No ‘Welcome (back) to St. Louis’ greeting
  5. 5. Existing organizations were YPD, SLIC, Gesher City, JGrads
  6. 6. Most either skewed older, felt exclusive, cold, or hierarchical
  7. 7. Most were based out of the county, not the city
  8. 8. Events were under umbrella of communal organizations and often staff people were gate keepers instead of facilitators
  9. 9. Long cycle time to go from participant to leader
  10. 10. Moishe House
  11. 11. Grew out of organic community building, officially started late summer, 2008.
  12. 12. Became 25-30 people a week for Shabbat, events often focused on cultural and other events in St. Louis
  13. 13. Yearly budget of $25,000, covered by local donor in St. Louis, model moving towards Federation support
  14. 14. From 7/2008-7/2009, 248 participants, almost 1,250 total attendance
  15. 15. Benefits
  16. 16. Low start-up and ongoing costs, with potential for large impact
  17. 17. Established model with national name recognition and resources
  18. 18. Freedom to experiment and adapt to local community
  19. 19. Peer led
  20. 20. Drawbacks
  21. 21. Culture and outcomes driven by the residents, with lax oversight, therefore vital to have right people, might otherwise become very cliquey
  22. 22. Relatively large programming budgets may extend culture of entitlement
  23. 23. Limited potential for leadership beyond residents
  24. 24. Potential for resident burnout and challenges sourcing new residents
  25. 25. Next Dor STL
  26. 26. Grew from success with Moishe House, officially started November, 2009
  27. 27. Model stressed peer planned events in which staff merely facilitates and provides logistical and promotional support to planners and focuses on relationships instead of membership
  28. 28. Model is also based on an open community space
  29. 29. First year operating budget of $22,000 (not including house renovation costs), supported by Synagogue3000, Kranzberg Family Foundation, JFED STL, and other individual donors
  30. 30. 11/2009-11/2010, 330 participants, almost 1,550 total attendance
  31. 31. Benefits
  32. 32. Provides opportunities for young adults to create the programs, events, and gatherings that interest them with minimal roadblocks.
  33. 33. Provides opportunities for partnerships with local agencies to connect with young adults
  34. 34. Most events cost little or nothing to produce
  35. 35. Peer led
  36. 36. Drawbacks
  37. 37. New model with young adult leadership often lacks practical organizational knowledge, clear accountability
  38. 38. Large initial start up costs (acquisition/renovation of a property)
  39. 39. Founder burnout potential
  40. 40. OJC reaction
  41. 41. Named MH and ND as two examples of organizations to support
  42. 42. Concierge roles
  43. 43. Bridging the gap between positive experiences on an Israel trip and community engagement and interaction
  44. 44. Connects young adults to programs like ND, MH and post-Israel opportunities, but also to cultural life in the city.
  45. 45. Provides individual attention and action
  46. 46. Key Take Aways
  47. 47. Build on existing networks
  48. 48. Create a warm environment in which people are greeted on arrival and introduced to others
  49. 49. Positive experiences shared by word of mouth are most powerful form of marketing, but being in the right digital spheres helps too.
  50. 50. Lower barriers to entry, remove us/them (in crowd-out crowd, membership)
  51. 51. Become an entry point into the energy of the city
  52. 52. Jewish communities have historically thrived in vibrant cities, we must recognize the interdependence of the city system (and the urban core) with the Jewish community.